By Fiona Heavey
By Fiona Heavey
ESLIN school teacher Brenda Stenson graciously took the title of Leitrim Rose 2011 at a beautiful event in Lough Rynn Castle Hotel on Easter Saturday night.
Eight stunning and talented girls from all over the county took part in the Leitrim Rose 2011 competition at the weekend. Each brought their own unique personality to the glamorous event which resulted in a fun and entertaining night for everyone who attended.
Presenter and MC Brendan Hennessy was Leitrim’s answer to Daithi O’Shea on the night helping put the girls at ease and getting some great laughs from the crowd while bringing out the best in each of the Leitrim ladies.
The girls had a busy day starting with individual interviews with the judges that included local dress designer Eileen Abbott, former Rose of Tralee Escort Enda Carey and myself (Fiona Heavey). There were no nerves from this strong and confident bunch and each of the girls were chatty, friendly and brimming with smiles. The girls also performed well in the group stages, but it was on stage that all eight shone through. In the end it was very difficult to pick just one winner, each of them were strong in different aspects of the process but it was Eslin lady Brenda Stenson who edged past the rest.
Brenda who is a Home Economics and Irish teacher in Rathmines represented Eslin and was sponsored by Gerard Stenson Hardware, Mohill. She said she is “delighted to be chosen as the Leitrim Rose.” Brenda was a last minute entry and only filled out her application form last Thrusday. “I always wanted to enter it but I just needed someone to push me and put me forward,” she explained to the Leitrim Observer.
“The whole day was so much fun from the morning meetings and interviews to the rehearsals and the big show, but I never expected to win,” she gushed. Brenda is now setting her sights on the regional final. She is meeting up with 2010 Leitirm Rose Martha Gilheaney and Judge Eileen Abbott this week to find out what is involved and to get some tips. “I can’t wait to hear all about the regionals, I know I have big boots to fill, Martha was so good.” Brenda attended the Cavan Rose last Sunday and has made friends with the Cavan winner Brianna Gallagher. Next week Brenda returns to her school where she must “get serious” before exams. When school finishes Brenda will be able to turn her whole attention to being the Leitrim Rose and representing the county in the Regional Final.
Brenda had planned to show off her fine fiddle skills on stage, but the instrument was knocked out of tune being brought up to stage and couldn’t be fixed! Lucky enough Brenda’s warm personality was all the entertainment the crowd needed. She is hoping to travel in the next few years starting with a trip to Thailand this Summer. Brenda plays with Eslin Ladies GAA and is a former member of the very famous Millennium Choir.
2010 Rose Martha Gilheaney from Ballinamore handed over her Leitrim Rose sash to Brenda. Martha said she had “the best year of my life” as the Leitrim Rose and wished Brenda the best of luck in the regional final. Brenda will now progress to the Rose of Tralee Regional finals in Portlaoise in June. Six roses will be chosen from this to go on and represent their area at the Rose of Tralee International Festival.
To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.